Team Traditions

Not enough families these days make it a habit to bond over a family meal. I’m so thankful that my family does. Our dinners are different. They consist of turkey legs, nachos and stadium seating. Attending Spartan Basketball alongside my parents has been a tradition for over a decade. Because the traditions we’ve created are so special to me, I want to share some of my favorites, in hopes of inspiring other families to see how sports can bring them together. It’s so much more than basketball. The Izzone. The nation’s premier student section. They are a tradition all their own. My family’s favorite part is anxiously waiting for the big screen to find our favorite quirky kid during each game. Last year it was the student in the super random horse mask and the scrawny guy in the hula shirt, who did a really convincing lip-synching act to “Living on a Prayer.” Whether your days as an Izzone member are over, or you never got the chance, you can still feel like you’re a member of the gang. Clapping Grandma. This is an endearing term for a lovely lady who sits near the middle of the stadium. When the game is tense and the team needs the crowd, she’s the first one to stand up and ignite the crowd. She’s also the hardest clapper in the whole dang building. “Clapping Grandma,” if you’re reading this, keep it up! We love you! Dairy Store Delights. It started as a bet. My favorite player, versus each of my parents’ favorites. Whoever’s player scores the most points has to go get the winner’s half time snack. Traditionally speaking though, it’s me who is braving the four flights of stairs because my favorite players tend to be the big men, more responsible for rebounding than scoring. We believe to stray from this tradition is to ensure a Spartan loss. The Taco Shot. This one’s easy. For the past several seasons we all get free tacos if we score 70 points or more. Cheer for the “taco shot” at 68 points by yelling “we want tacos.” 50/50 Glory. This is the stuff of legends. Drew Neitzel’s senior year. Michigan Game. Normally Dad bought his 50/50 tickets from whatever vendor felt lucky to him. Of course, when the winning numbers were finally called, we were inevitably disappointed. Dad would then proceed to tear the tickets into tiny pieces and throw them into the air as confetti after the next Spartan basket. Every game. On this night, however, on the bus ride to the stadium, Dad decided to let ME pick the numbers, promising me 10 percent if we won. The number I picked just looked right. That night we won! WE won the 50/50 and the team SLAUGHTERED the Wolverines. Legendary. We haven’t won since, but there’s been a lot of confetti. The moral of my story for this time of Thanksgiving is to make your own traditions and sports is as good a place to start as any.

Tags: family, Izzone, team, traditions

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